13-year-old burn victim arrives in Fort Lauderdale after 3 brothers die in house fire in Jamaica

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – After undergoing more than two dozen surgeries in the U.S., a 13-year-old burn victim is now beginning her road to recovery in South Florida to return back home to Jamaica.

Local 10 News was at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport early Tuesday morning when Adrianna Laing flew in to see other members of the Jamaican community.

Laing is the sole survivor of a massive house fire that happened in Jamaica last September.

While Liang survived the incident, her three brothers died after they were unable to escape the blaze.

“I still can’t believe that they are gone,” she said.

Stephen Josephs, of the Sanmerna Foundation, told Local 10 News that Laing’s prognosis was grim six months ago and that it took a true miracle mission to get her the life-saving treatment she needed.

“It was a race against time, she had 48 hours to live,” he said.

Laing sustained burns on nearly 97 percent of her entire body.

Because most hospitals in Jamaica do not have burn units, officials with the Jamaican Consulate and Trinity Air Ambulance immediately flew Liang to the U.S. for treatment.

After spending the last six months in Boston and undergoing 26 different surgeries, Laing was finally cleared to return home this week.

“I’m proud, I didn’t expect that I’d come this far,” she said.

Laing told Local 10 News that her journey hasn’t been an easy one, but she is happy to be around loved ones.

“I feel happy to go back and see my family,” she said. “It’s been very hard to have therapy. It’s been very hard.”

Jamaican Consulate General Oliver Mair met Laing at the airport and said that he is beyond grateful that she is alive.

“Even though she’s little, she’s strong and she was able to withstand this tremendous tragedy that took place,” he said. “She has emerged as a victim and today we say thanks to God for keeping her alive and keeping her here with us.”

Paramedics shared their relief and gratitude that Laing is alive.

“It’s a miracle,” said Thomas Baldwin, a paramedic with Trinity Air Ambulance. “A lot of things we see with her is a lot better than we could imagine at the time.”

Laing and her team plan to spend the next few days visiting with other members of the Jamaican community in South Florida before flying back to the island on Thursday.

Laing says she now wants to use this experience as an opportunity to educate others about the importance of fire safety while also highlighting the need for a burn unit in Jamaica.

She also said she wants to become a doctor when she grows up to treat children with burns.

About the Authors:

Trent Kelly is an award-winning multimedia journalist who joined the Local 10 News team in June 2018. Trent is no stranger to Florida. Born in Tampa, he attended the University of Florida in Gainesville, where he graduated with honors from the UF College of Journalism and Communications.

Sanela Sabovic joined Local 10 News in September 2012 as an assignment editor and associate producer. In August 2015, she became a full-time reporter and fill-in traffic reporter. Sanela holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in communications with a concentration in radio, television and film from DePaul University.